words by chris
Last weekend was the gathering of representatives and pastors from the Ecuadorian Covenant churches for the Asamblea Nacional (National Assembly). Pastors and church lay leaders headed to the rural, and humid, Covenant Camp in Santo Domingo de las Tsáchilas. It is not only a time of debate and discussion around the vision and business of the church, but it is. also a time of reflection, celebration, and unity.
As the interim rector of the seminary, along with the board of the seminary, we recognized the graduation of 72 students for the theological formation program. Sweating in their graduation gowns, it was a joy and honor to see the culmination of two years worth of extension curses, and the desire many of the students have to continue in theological and pastoral training.
Saturday night always seems to be a great night. The ordination service takes place, in which the church recognizes, prays for, and blesses pastors who have gone through a process to become, as one pastor put it, “a resource point for the church.” After the prayers, they are then invited to serve communion to the congregation.
This year’s ordination service had added significance as our friends Washington Armas and Pablo Velasquez were ordained. Washington also happens to be the pastor of our church here.
The Asamblea is also a time to enjoy the diversity of the church here- indigenous Kichwa pastors from the mountains, pastors who take the long trek from the Amazon, the energy and vibrancy of Covenanters from the coast, and friends and colleagues from the central Sierra. The theme this year was “united in the freedom in Christ,” and looking around at the variety in expressions and ethnicity is a true mark of that liberty we have in Christ, the freedom to be who we were created to be.